Jan. 4, 2012
Brittany Hardy isn't much for words.
In fact if you talk to the junior guard for Louisiana Tech, good luck on getting too much information out of her. She's like one of those old time silent movies ... very quiet.
However, she is passionate (and even somewhat talkative) about one subject-- her family.
"I'm a family person," Brittany said. "It was always me and my family. I'm not a people person. It was about me and my family."
Brittany is from Orlando, Florida. That is where the Hardy's - what seems like a couple dozen of them - call home.
There's mom and dad, Ingrid and Charles Hardy. There are the four brothers, Lamont, Jermaine, Terrence and Charles. There are the two sisters, Davija and Michelle. There are four nephews (with a fifth on the way). There are five nieces.
And most recently, there is A'Niyah - Brittany's infant daughter born this past summer.
"I had a beautiful little girl on May 5, 2011 at 5:23 p.m.," Brittany said, letting down her guard for an instant, smiling while tearing up. "A'Niyah. She stays with both of my parents who are taking care of her right now."
That's the 5-foot-8-inch guard's newest motivation for everything she does. Brittany said that these days the hardest part is being away from her daughter.
"(My life has) changed a lot," she said. "It's hard to be far away from her. I really don't like talking about it. It changed for the better a lot. There's a bigger picture. I have to work for something different now. It's harder. It motivates me a lot."
Prior to going home for Christmas, Brittany and A'Niyah were separated for three a half months while "mama" came back to Ruston to go to school and play basketball. In that short - yet long - period of time, the little Hardy grew tremendously.
"She's getting big on me," Brittany said. "When I left her in September, she was seven pounds and now she is 28 pounds. She has a personality now. When I FaceTime her, she is smiling and playing. She is busy. I have a busy baby."
"I'm not going (Christmas shopping) until Friday when I get home, me and one of my close friends. I'll go get (A'Niyah) a lot of clothes and toys. I will also get to see my grandma. I haven't seen her in a year. I'll have a good Christmas with my family."
In addition to her ever-growing family, basketball is her next passion. It's something she has known and loved since she was just a few years old than A'Niyah.
"I started playing at five years old at the YMCA. I played on a boy's team," Brittany said. "Then my dad got an (AAU) Orlando Miracle team, and I played with them. I was young ... like eight. I was playing on my brother's team at first. That's when girls were allowed to play with boys (in AAU). Then they stopped that."
But not before Brittany developed a tough-as-nails mentality on the hardwood that still carries over to the court today. It's that toughness - and her ability to knock down the outside shot - that led her to Ruston and Louisiana Tech.
After sitting out last year due to her pregnancy, Brittany returned to the Thomas Assembly Center floor this year and has shown flashes of her offensive ability despite still working herself back into basketball shape.
She scored 14 points in Tech's win over Old Dominion and then added a career-high 17 points in the victory at Arkansas State. Through the first 13 games of the season, she was averaging 6.0 points a contest despite playing only around 13 minutes a contest - not bad production.
Brittany said that she is still trying to adapt to life at Louisiana Tech.
"High school basketball was easy," she said. "Junior college I had to get used to. I played at two different schools. I loved my last junior college. The biggest challenge is the different types of coaches. I just have to get adjusted to that."
One thing is for certain. Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon won't baby her.
All the babying will be left to A'Niyah.